Posted on December 11, 2015
Egoscue: (Before and) After
As promised, here I am with the (honest) results.
Before I reveal the results, though, remember: You will not see my scoliosis appearing to have been “cured.”
There is no known cure for scoliosis. We don’t know if it’s caused by environmental factors, a neurological misfire, or hormonal imbalances, or all of the above, or something else entirely. Until we figure that out, nothing will actually “cure” scoliosis.
What methods like Egoscue (and others like it) can do, however, is help us manage the symptoms so we can live a more functional, active, healthy, happy life.
And that’s what’s happened for me here :).
Am I still crooked? Yes! I have an incurable, idiopathic condition! But do I feel and look better? Absolutely.
Oh, and another thing? I actually didn’t do my Egoscue every day for the past 7 days. I was only able to do it every day for 5 days.
That means that within 5 sessions, I was able to achieve the above results.
Because it’s sometimes difficult to know how to put into words what we’re seeing, and also because you can’t get inside my head to know how I’m feeling, let me do a little amateur self-analysis on my progress (again, keep in mind that I am NOT an Egoscue therapist and do not hold any professional health designations. I’m just a regular person who has done this long enough, using her eyeballs and powers of observation):
2) My kyphosis symptoms are lessened. When I took this “Before” photo, I was fighting to bring my shoulder blades back that far so my scapulae would lay that flat. Now, it’s much easier and I’m more upright.
3) As I mentioned, my scapulae are laying much more flat. Before, my right scapula was sticking out so much that if I stood with my back against a wall, my right scapula would practically “vault” my entire right side off of the wall–it was impossible for me to be flat against any surface, even my mattress.
4) Don’t do what I did and be fooled by the optical illusion created by the shadow–that indentation on the lower right side of my back is much less significant now!
5) Look at my “Before” photo, and notice how my left elbow is actually touching my body. Then look at my right elbow, and how far away it is from my body (this is caused by the rotation of my ribcage/shoulders). When I swung my arms as I walked, my left arm would brush against my side, and my right arm felt like it was flinging off into the wild blue yonder, making me feel very off-balance.
Now look at my “After” photo. Can you see that there is now daylight between my left elbow and my body? The right elbow is still fairly far away, but I can tell you that I feel more balanced. Not totally balanced, but more balanced, and that’s happy progress for me!
How about the other things I mentioned in my last post, like how the weight of my body was carried unevenly on my feet, or how my head felt like it was always jutting forward on my neck, or the whole “ribs-pushing-into-my-organs-and-making-it-difficult-to-breathe” thing?
Feet: Weight has shifted into my back heels, so the entire “front” part of my feet feel unsteady. (Being honest :).)
Head/neck: Still jutted forward, but I haven’t noticed any more neck pain in the past few days. Which is great, because it used to be almost constant.
Ribcage-in-organs thing: Poking very slightly, but overall? The pushing feeling has been greatly minimized, and I can draw a full breath again :).
But I promised to be honest, right?
Here’s the thing with scoliosis: Our scoliotic bodies actually believe, for whatever reason, that our spines being crooked and wonky is actually normal, maybe even good.
So what happens when you attempt to make your spine straight? Your body finds new ways to fight back, to make you curved again.
With Egoscue and other methods like it, as your body builds up a “tolerance” for the exercises you’ve been doing to straighten out your spine, the exercises become less effective, and you need a new set of exercises, to fight against the new stupid thing your body wants to do.
For me, my body tends to build up its tolerance against my Egoscue exercises about every 4 weeks. For some people, it’s less than that, for some people, it’s more than that, but for my body, it’s 4 weeks.
And as it just so happens, today is exactly 4 weeks since my last visit to my Egoscue therapist, so I will be making a trip to Austin later today to get reassessed, and given a whole new set of exercises to counterbalance the new stupid things my body wants to do.
So frankly, these results aren’t even as great as they usually are after I have been practicing Egoscue for 5 days, but I’m glad this happened so I could tell you this–
Using an alternative method can be effective and totally worth it for some scoliotics, but it’s hard work, and you need to be confident that the alternative method that you choose is adaptable to fit your scoliosis’s ever-changing moods and needs, so that you can continue to manage it for a lifetime.
Maybe today my therapist will give me more exercises to help me stand more evenly on my feet, and address the ribcage rotation that’s pushing into my organs slightly, whereas last month she might have been more focused on a hip imbalance and my right rotated femur (that causes pain in my knee), for example.
The point is, as I slowly creep toward being comfortable and functional at least 90% of the time (my goal), little things will start trying to go awry, and it’s awesome to have a professional being right there with me the whole time, giving me a custom set of things to do daily that address my specific needs and problems.
I’m looking forward to seeing what my therapist and I come up with today, as I continue to slowly move toward more optimal, permanent spinal health :).
I hope this little experiment was encouraging and informative, and please leave me your thoughts and questions in the comments!